A Utah plastic surgeon, his medical company and three others have been charged with faking COVID-19 vaccination cards, destroying more than $28,000 worth of government-provided coronavirus vaccines and giving children saline injections to have, prosecutors said.
The Utah Institute of Plastic Surgery, Inc. and Dr. Michael Kirk Moore Jr. has been charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to a Justice Department press release Wednesday.
Three others – identified in court documents as Utah Plastic Surgery Institute office manager Kari Dee Burgoyne, receptionist Sandra Flores and Moore’s neighbor Kristin Jackson Andersen – were also charged.
According to the indictment, from approximately early November 2021 to early September 2022, Moore and his co-defendants destroyed at least $28,028.50 worth of government-supplied COVID-19 vaccines.
“As charged in court documents, the defendants also administered saline solutions to minors — at the request of their parents — to make children believe they were receiving a COVID-19 vaccine,” the DOJ writes.
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In addition to destroying COVID vaccines, the group has allegedly issued at least 1,937 doses worth of counterfeit CDC COVID-19 vaccination cards to fraudulent vaccination card seekers “who came to the Plastic Surgery Institute to obtain the cards without a COVID 19 vaccine for them.”
These fake vaccine dose records were sold for $50 each through direct cash payments or “donations” to a “charity,” court documents say — bringing the transaction total of the fake cards sold to $96,850.
“By allegedly falsifying vaccination cards and administering saline solutions to children in lieu of COVID-19 vaccines, this provider has not only endangered the health and well-being of a vulnerable population, but has also undermined public trust and the integrity of government health programs. ” Curt L. Muller, acting special agent for the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, said in a statement.
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The Office of Inspector General, the US Department of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are investigating the case, according to the DOJ release Wednesday.
The defendants’ first appearance in court is scheduled for January 26.
The lawyers for the defendants were not immediately clear on Tuesday. USA TODAY reached out to the Plastic Institute of Utah Tuesday afternoon for an explanation.
According to Moore’s biography on the practice’s website, Moore has nearly two decades of experience in medicine. He graduated from the University of Miami School of Medicine and completed his residency in plastic surgery at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, his bio reads.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Moore is still listed as an active physician and surgeon in the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing database.